The Psychology of Eating

Getting in Touch with Simplicity 

At Nova Wellness Counseling, I work with helping clients to better understand both the biochemical and emotional factors for natural weight loss. Have you ever asked yourself how you feel after you eat a meal? Do you feel tired or energized? What we eat, when we eat, and how we eat plays a major role with how we digest our food, and how we feel after our meals. By expanding the definition of nourishment, we can gain a broader perspective to explore and embrace new possibilities.

What makes you smile? Laugh? For some, it’s a walk in the park.  Or a bike ride. Maybe it’s gazing up at the sky to see the stars.  For another, it’s going to a new feature film.

What’s the importance of allowing play time to be included in our busy lifestyles?

If it’s been awhile, you may want to consider how happiness lowers your stress levels, helps to increase your immune system, and lowers your risk of disease. Play time also makes life easier.

Simple Daily Pleasures

Doing one pleasurable event a day (or more!) is one of the most powerful antidotes for boredom or dealing with one of those stressful days at your office.

Try this…

  • Create a list of everything that you enjoy.
  • Take note at how you spend your days by asking yourself right now “When could I fit in a little pleasure for myself? Perhaps you could leave the office at lunch time and take a short brisk walk in the sunshine. Or play your favorite music and dance around the kitchen when you are cooking dinner tonight. You might even book yourself a massage for this weekend.

“Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf”.

Rabindranath Tagore


How can YOU eat just One…?

At Nova Wellness Counseling, I work with clients to help them better understand both the biochemical and emotional factors affecting natural weight loss.  By expanding the definition of nourishment, we can also gain a broader perspective about overeating.

There are three types of overeating:  The emotional type is about fear, anger and anxiety. The environmental type is triggered by the sight or smell of food. And restraint eating relates to overeating after dieting.

It’s hard to self-regulate eating when stress is a part of daily life.  Food fills the empty spaces created by discomforts such as boredom or loneliness, and it is also used for reward and celebration.  Yet how do we make the right choices to love ourselves first in ways that support our health and well-being?

First of all, don’t beat yourself up if you struggle with stress and overeating.  Often what we are truly reaching for is to feel loved and valued.

An act of self-love is to learn new skills to deal with the challenges we face in daily life that shape our emotional eating habits.  First, accept where you are without judgment. This makes it possible to develop self-control to have the ability to make your own choices.

In my work with clients, we explore ways to nourish and heal those emotions and fears that have kept us from moving forward.  Choosing foods that have nutritional value is only part of that exploration.  Shifting your attitude from critical judgment to acceptance requires allowing your inner wisdom to emerge.

The key is learning how to think for your own body type, and learning to listen to your body.  The only prerequisite is being willing to embrace your true potential.

I’d enjoy working with you!

Alice Anne

Alice Anne Millington, M.A. Psych., C.C., H.H.P

Office: 206-733-0349



Loving Contracts with Ourselves

It’s not just about eating different foodsit’s thinking about food differently

Helping hands and heart for natural weight loss from Nova Wellness Counseling Seattle WA

The common definition of food is limiting when we view food as the only form of nourishment. By expanding the definition of nourishment, we can gain a broader perspective to explore and embrace new possibilities. Most of us have accepted that eating healthy foods provides our bodies with the physical nourishment needed to promote a healthy lifestyle.

How do self-criticism and self-judgment impact our weight loss efforts?

Self-criticism seems to tiptoe into our minds when we are trying to lose weight. For example, you critique yourself after eating that piece of cake with ice cream, or dining out somewhere and eating a large portion of pasta. You then critically assess your inability to stick to a plan to reach your weight loss goals. You might feel a sense of failure, frustration, anger, and poor self-esteem. Despite the inevitable aftermath of thoughts of regret, when eating “forbidden foods” we do so to distance ourselves from feeling pain or discomfort, which is only natural, right? Yet how we feel affects our ability (or inability) to lose weight.

When I work with clients, I find that just the thought of being able to make their own food choices empowers them. “Hmm… you mean I can eat the foods I want, when I want, and how much I want?” The answers are “Yes, yes, yes”. However, this doesn’t mean there are no consequences to your actions. What I am referring to is allowing yourself to make personal choices without guilt, fear or recrimination. Self-judgment takes the back seat when you are the driver–when you can take back the power to fully participate in your life.

In my practice at Nova Wellness Counseling, change starts with becoming actively engaged with ourselves, our choice-making, and loving “who we are” and “where we are”. This is the foundation that supports the process of making a loving contract with ourselves and our life to facilitate positive change.

Alice Anne Millington, M.A. Psych., C.C., H.H.P.

Your Emotions and Your Food Choices

Do your emotions relate to your food choices?  Do your food choices affect your emotions? 

New research shows the relationship between brain chemicals such as dopamine to affect our motivational drives and behaviors with foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt. Do you choose to eat a candy bar or junk food when you feel tired and want a quick pick-me-up? Sugary-fatty “quick food fixes” provide immediate comfort but soon after eating these foods, your blood sugar crashes. When this happens, you may not be able to understand why you are suddenly feeling tired, sluggish or depressed.

What is this junk food habit really costing you?

​This eating style not only controls your actions but your food choices. Exposure to these foods stimulates connections to our neural circuits that cause us to want more. It also poses an obstacle to weight loss and puts your health at risk.

Learn new coping strategies​

In our work together, I will help you to acquire new individualized tools to overcome roadblocks around your eating habits and emotional patterns. You will learn a new approach to selecting healthy natural foods that will not affect mood-triggered eating.

Experience another method to handle your stress, anxiety or mild depression with mind-body therapies.

Become fully engaged and motivated to reach attainable goals

In my “Lighten-Up” program, the benefits are many, as you will soon develop new insights that are uniquely yours.  You will learn a new eating style to feel healthy, balance your energy, and feel better about yourself rather than to feel deprived. ​Eating and weight loss counseling helps you see things more clearly, and perhaps from a different perspective. By exploring ways to transform confusion, self’blame and judgment to self-compassion and self-discovery, you develop positive strategies to experience your feelings with acceptance. With these insights, you will be better able to have new choices and take action.

Experience new ways to handle emotional eating that have stopped you from moving forward.

How do we restore the confidence needed to take control of our lives?

Choose healthy foods, and help our bodies heal themselves!  

There are numerous self-help books, articles and educational TV programs that offer good advice about what to eat and what not to eat to stay healthy. But the fact is, other factors are at play when it comes to how we make our decisions.

Eating junk food is ubiquitous. We have easy access to quick foods that have saturated fat, sugar and salt snacks, which can be addictive. Think about the new dark chocolate bars coated with salt ready for you to grab at the checkout stand.

Some food manufacturers know how these food groups and combinations provide us with immediate gratification, and make us wired to crave these foods. Is it just about our willpower? With this in mind, exercising more self-control to make better food choices is one of the biggest challenges we face in our nation.

How do we restore the confidence we need to take control of our lives to eat a healthy diet? Rather than just being at the fate of our will power, we need the ability to strengthen our “skill power”.

Nutritional education is just one part of the solution to attain lasting results. My counseling provides each client the self-confidence and “skill power” we need to stay on track for healthy and natural weight loss.

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Quinoa–Lose Weight–Rejuvenate Your Body–Feel Energized!

Eating nutritious foods that promote healthy weight loss and improve energy levels and moods is found in quinoa. This is one of the extraordinary nutrient-dense foods with many important healing properties.

The health of our brain, like any organ, depends upon a supply of nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which also play a role in our psychological health. A study published in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture in 2010 found that quinoa provides key antioxidants. These antioxidants protect our cell membranes for healthy brain neuronal functions.

Quinoa is an easy solution on a busy day for a nutritious meal that is easy to make, increases energy, and supports emotional balance and healthy weight loss.

This may look like a grain, but in fact it is a seed of a broadleaf plant. Quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids and provides micronutrients, such as B-vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium and vitamin E, which promote good health. With having a very good source of magnesium, this mineral relaxes blood vessels and calms the body. It is a clean source of protein and does not contain cholesterol like animal and dairy products. Gluten free, it is easy digest. It also has fiber to help support a healthy digestive track.

How can quinoa be part of the solution to satisfying your hunger? Unlike simple carbs that spike blood sugar levels that soon leave us hungry, quinoa is a slow burning carbohydrate. This helps to break down sugar levels, provide satiety (fullness) and control our hunger.

An easy recipe for quinoa can be found on my blog post. Be inspired and enjoy good health!

Alice Anne Millington

High Protein Delight–Red Quinoa

High Protein Delight–Red Quinoa

Want to lose weight a healthy way?

This dish provides a balance of all essential amino acids and is a considered a complete protein. A wonderful to serve as a side dish or have as your main course.

First rinse your quinoa to remove the natural saponin coating, which can be quite bitter. A wonderful side dish or have this as your main course. Allow 30 minutes for preparation and cooking time.


  • 2 cups red quinoa
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 Tlb. olive oil
  • 1/3 cup green onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup red pepper
  • 1 cup zucchini, dice in small cubes
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 1/2 tsp. zest orange peel
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup of fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh oregano, diced or 1 tsp. (dried)
  • 3 sprigs of fresh basil, diced or 1 tsp. (dried)
  • 1 dash of red chili pepper (optional)
  • Herbamare to flavor for salt replacement


Prepare your vegetables and set aside. Add quinoa to water, cook over medium heat for 25 minutes or until cooked and fluffy. Sauté vegetables in olive oil with orange zest and seasonings. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes.  Add orange juice, cook for several minutes.

Have fun and enjoy!

Alice Anne Millington